Bright, fruity, and large format, punch is a pop culture staple, often spotted at the school dances of rom-com classics and Netflix miniseries. But there’s more to punch than the red, saccharine stuff served with plastic ladles. Bartenders are creating their own versions of the juice-based concoction with high-quality ingredients and unique techniques.
From tiki classics and expert Shannon Mustipher’s take on rum punch, to modern twists incorporating unexpected ingredients, there’s no shortage of delicious big-batch drinks worth serving at your next soirée. Read on for some of VinePair’s favorite punch recipes to mix up for a crowd or for sipping solo.
The Planter’s Punch
For the ultimate Tiki punch, look no further than the Planter’s Punch, Jamaica’s unofficial national cocktail since the 1800s. Built in accordance with the cheeky foundation of “one of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, four of weak,” this punch recipe utilizes lime juice as the sour, velvet falernum as the sweet, luscious dark Jamaican rum to cover the strong, and a bit of club soda for the weak. The result is a slightly spicy tropical refresher perfect for long afternoons under the summer sun.
While not a traditional punch, the Ti’Punch was created to serve as a miniature version of the classic build. In fact, the name of the cocktail is derived from the French word “petit,” borrowing the “ti” to mean “small punch.” Composed of just rhum agricole, cane syrup, and one lime coin, the Ti’Punch is definitely small, but certainly packs that punch — no pun intended.
The Pisco Punch
Created in the 1880s in San Francisco, the Pisco Punch has a storied history as the favored cocktail among writers in San Francisco throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Having fallen out of public favor around Prohibition, the libation is enjoying a comeback as more and more crop up on swanky bar menus. Composed of pisco, lemon juice, rich simple syrup (made with a 2:1 ratio as opposed to the classic 1:1) and pineapple juice, the Pisco Punch is tart, sweet, and definitely delicious.
The Punching Up
Childhood nostalgia can sometimes strike hard. When it does, the Punching Up is the perfect drink to whip up. Made with Strawberry Kiwi Capri Sun, some low-ABV Lillet Blanc, and light ginger beer, the playful cocktail is bursting with refreshing floral notes and saccharine fruit flavors. With three shakes of black lemon bitters added to the mix, the Punching Up takes on a slightly spiced edge, creating the perfect recipe for sessionable sipping.
Shannon Mustipher’s Barbadian Rum Punch Recipe
This take on colonial-era punch is as easy to prepare as it is to share with friends. Made with four ingredients — rum, simple syrup, lime juice, and a hefty dose of Angostura bitters — the resulting sipper is invitingly fragrant and crowd-pleasing. Scale the measurements up or down, depending on the size of your party. Garnish with fresh nutmeg to deepen the flavor and aromatics of this cocktail.
The Mandarin Gin Punch Recipe
Gin, mandarin juice, Mojito simple syrup, lemon juice, and dry curaçao intertwine into one bright, highly refreshing beverage. While mandarin juice offers a nice sweetness, lemon juice balances this drink out, making it sessionable during any season.
The Jamaican Rum Punch Recipe
If you thought your French press was just for coffee, think again. This rum punch is made with rum, Grand Marnier, pineapple, lime, and simple syrup — infused with toasted coconut, jalapeño, mint, and cinnamon sticks. After half an hour of mingling these ingredients in your French press, simply strain into a rocks glass and garnish with a sprig of mint or a pineapple leaf.
The Rosy Gin Punch Recipe
While this recipe is technically a single serving, it’s an easy one to double, triple, or even quadruple for groups. Simply combine gin, pineapple juice, lemon juice, and rose syrup in a pitcher or glass, stir, and enjoy. A pineapple wedge and rosemary sprig make for lovely garnishes.
The Tiki Punch Recipe
A tiki-inspired concoction made with vodka rather than the traditional rum, this punch includes pineapple, lime, and mint simple syrup, made by adding a few mint sprigs to warm, homemade simple syrup as it cools.
Festive Punch for One Recipe
For ringing in the winter holidays, bubbly drinks are almost a necessity. This one is made with gin, triple sec, crème de cassis, lemon juice, and effervescent ginger ale. Combine these ingredients, then strain into a flute glass and garnish with a lemon twist for an extra celebratory presentation.
Bourbon Peach Punch Recipe
Bright, sessionable, and easy on the eyes, this Southern-inspired punch is made with bourbon, pineapple, lemon, and peach. Peaches are both muddled into this mixture and frozen inside of ice cubes for festive appeal. Garnish with freshly cracked black pepper to bring out the spice of bourbon and balance out the sweetness of stone fruit.
The Gin Kombucha Gin Punch Recipe
When it comes to punch, this kombucha-forward recipe is anything but traditional. However, its core ingredients of tea, citrus, sugar, and spirit harken back to the classic punch from the colonial era of the United States. Along with cherry cassis kombucha, this punch is made with gin, lime, orange, simple syrup, and Earl Grey tea. The resulting drink has an inviting pink hue and is best served in a coupe glass topped with an edible flower.